A Record-Breaking Q&A with Shadrack Kipchirchir and Natalja Piliusina

Feb. 14, 2013

Fresh off breaking school records in the men's 5K and women's mile, respecitvely, Shadrack Kipchirchir and Natalja Piliusina answered a few questions to help us get to know them.

Shadrack Kipchirchir:


Q: What does it feel like to be a school record holder?


A: “Oh, it’s special. It’s beautiful to be a school record holder. This is a big school, and to be able to call yourself a school record holder is awesome.”


Q: What is your favorite thing about being in America?


A: “A good thing about being here is I think everything is so straightforward. Everything seems to be done the right way. In Africa, lots of shortcuts are taken. Here, everything is point blank. Usually people are honest and don’t lie.”


Q: What is your favorite thing about running?


A: “I used to not like running so much, until I came here. People saw my running and told me I was a good runner, but I didn’t know I could run well. It’s fun to run now. I like that you omit a lot of bad stuff when you run and you become disciplined.”


Q: What is your favorite food?


A: “I like steak so much. I don’t know why I like it. They say steak is not good for runners, but I like it. At the training table, steak is my favorite. I like it so much.”


Q: Who is your favorite musician?


A: “Bob Marley.”


Q: What are three things you want to do before you die?


A:  “I know I want to run in the Olympics. I want to have a good family—like get married and have good kids. And, I want to get a good job in my field of study, construction engineering.”




Q: Who is your favorite athlete?


A: “Bernard Lagat. He was a Kenyan runner, but now he’s an American. He’s 38 years old, and still runs with the younger athletes. When I was a little kid, I would watch him in the Olympics. Over Christmas break, I met him for the first time and I ran with him. I was shocked. I used to see him in the media and in magazines, so it was awesome.”



Natalja Piliusina:


Q: How often does your name get mispronounced?


A: “Pretty often. Since I’ve been here, I’ve heard my name pronounced correctly maybe a couple times. I think my first name gets mispronounced more often in class and stuff, but announcers at races get my last name wrong. It goes both ways.”


Q: What brought you to OSU?


A: It’s a great place to run with a great coach, great team and just everything about OSU is good. I came here on a visit when I was in high school, and I saw OSU had everything I needed. My biggest influence was probably Dave [Smith] because as a coach, he really knows what he is doing.


Q: What is your favorite thing about Stillwater?


A: It might sound weird, but I like when Stillwater is empty. There’s something about it. No cars on the street. I can’t go home as often, so I’m here a bunch when it’s empty and I like it. I like how close everything is. There’s really no need to drive a bunch.


Q: What is the key to success in distance running?


A: There’s so many things, but the main one is probably discipline. Knowing why you’re here and what you’re trying to do.


Q: What is your favorite sport to watch besides track?


A: Basketball. Back home in Lithuania, basketball is really big and I grew up with it.


Q: Who is your favorite basketball player?


A: Probably Arvydas Sabonis. He played in the NBA with the Portland Trailblazers. He’s retired now, but I liked watching him play.


Q: What is your favorite thing to eat in America?


A: Sweet potato fries. I never had sweet potatoes before coming here. Back home, we just didn’t have them. It was a new thing for me, and I loved it.

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